AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

elections

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Friday, May 9th, 2014

Whining white people*

Can all the whining white people all over Twitter and Facebook please shut up? Just shut up. Stop talking about how stupid ANC voters are. Stop talking about how you’re convinced the EFF are going to kill you in your sleep. Stop calling people baboons. Stop behaving like Helen Zille is the true saviour of

Monday, May 5th, 2014

20 Years of Freedom in South Africa: Elections and captured politics

Recent public commentary has celebrated the virtues of a competitive electoral market in South Africa. The common argument is that the emergence of new political formations on the electoral landscape provides space for increased competition to have...

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: Seven Things To Tell Young Black South Africans

Last week, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation held an election debate in Cape Town, in the Western Cape, on intergenerational justice. It would have been great if some terms, like intergenerational justice, had been framed more...

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

20 Years of Freedom: Zackie Achmat on South Africa’s 5th democratic elections

Throughout the 2000s, Zackie Achmat led what was probably the most recognizable multi-class, mass social movement in South Africa, outside of the wide support enjoyed by the ANC or its trade union ally. Though the Treatment Action...

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Elections and Ethnicity in Guinea

The traffic along the Route de Fidel Castro, the main thoroughfare that runs through Conakry, was among the lightest I’d ever seen Monday evening. Usually, the infamous embouteillage (literally, “bottle-neck”) of Conakry has vehicles inching along as...

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Mali’s Elections: First Thoughts on Round Two

In Mali, it’s taken to be a good sign when a journey begins under the rain. Yesterday’s voting in Bamako began under torrents, keeping people from the polls. When the skies cleared, the voters turned out for...

Monday, July 29th, 2013

While we wait for election results in Mali

Malians voted yesterday to elect a president for the next five years. Based on the first news reports and the echo chamber of Twitter, large numbers went to vote for this first round, making the possibility of...

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Malians educating Malians ahead of elections

On Sunday, Malians will go to the polls for the first time since a military coup deposed elected President Amadou Toumani Toure in March 2012. As international media have abundtly reported, there are serious concerns over Mali’s...

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Germany’s African “Big Five”

On the occasion of the country’s first “development day” last week, the German ministry for economic cooperation and development launched a new campaign to educate Germans about what development policy is—or more accurately what the “new German...

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The Real Housewives of Harare

It’s election season in Zimbabwe, and so, as before, the State has engaged in ‘urban renewal’ by ‘cleaning the streets.’ Under British rule, today’s Zimbabwean women fought for the right to move about in public. The colonial...

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Nigeria: How many Twitter activists make one vote?

In the last week I attended a conference of ‘Future Leaders of Nigeria’, and one of the facilitators made a very interesting statement, “Politicians do not value the number of followers you have on Twitter, they value...

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Kenya: The monster under the house

At the end of my first term in high school, I watched a screening of Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist, the tale of an ordinary family unknowingly living in a house built over a graveyard without the bother of...

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

The Western Journalist in Africa

In 1982, as the air force-led coup attempt in Kenya unfolded, we sat glued to our transistor radio listening to the BBC and Voice of America (VOA). In fact, the more the oppressive the Moi regime censored...

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Kenya is More than its Election

The Kenyan people have voted. The Kenyan elections have come and not quite gone. The foreign press offered its readers a veritable smorgasbord of dreadfully decontextualized representations, and now that the actual polling has passed, you can...

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

How (not) to report on Kenya’s elections

Kenyans vote today (in some places voting have already started). And somehow, as in any election in any African country, the cliches are not far behind. “Will Kenya fall into mayhem after the results of the general...

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

What we learned from Kenya’s first ever televised presidential debate

Kenya had its first ever televised presidential debate on Monday night. Like many others I was watching the livestream online and Tweeting while at it. I have included some of my real time tweets in this post...

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Performing democracy in Zimbabwe

A few days ago the BBC reported on Zimbabwe’s impending elections, amidst concerns of renewed violence and human rights abuses in the country. However, what is often lost in the sensationalization of political violence, by this and...

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Six lessons from Ghana’s 2012 elections

Ghana held its sixth consecutive elections since its democratic transition in 1992 this past weekend and once again has earned its reputation as a stable and thriving democracy, in spite of predictable cries of fraud by the...

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Ghana’s elections: Back to the future

The critically-acclaimed documentary “An African Election” is an excellent primer for Friday’s elections in the small, but pivotal West African nation of Ghana. Directed by Jarreth Merz, the film chronicles the final month of campaigning in Ghana’s...

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The “legacy” of Mwai Kibaki

We know journalists will soon begin to obsess over what is the legacy of Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s 3rd President since Independence. Kibaki has to stand down next March (when elections are scheduled in Kenya) after two terms...

Monday, November 5th, 2012

80% of Angolans alive today have only ever called one man President

Eighty percent of Angolans today have only ever called one man President. Sure, some have had other allegiances; there was a serious armed opposition and there were 27 years of civil war, but José Eduardo dos Santos...

Monday, September 17th, 2012

The world’s media watched (sort of) as Angola votes

The three most interesting things about the recent Angolan elections were: one, that we knew the result before election (the question was by how much). Two, why did the Angolan ruling party, MPLA, spent so much on...

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Dutch to elect the ‘King of Africa’

Today the Netherlands is holding general elections. Although the global economic crisis and its effect on the Dutch economy dominate these elections, some parties want to make this about Africa.

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The other African election, Round 2: Sarkozy K.O.’d

Paris 20ème, Sunday, 8 p.m. Shouts, people banging pots from the windows, children running in the streets—in our neighborhood of workers and immigrants everybody else is upstairs, glued to the television. A man—African by his accent—is declaiming...

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The dancing Senegalese man

Senegal voted this weekend. Abdoulaye Wade is gone after 12 years. Macky Sall, once Wade's protege and variously prime minister and minister of mining under the old man is now in charge. We hope to have...

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The coup against democracy in Mali

Here's video of the coup announcement in Mali. Ridiculous. The screen is dark at first -- they were having technical difficulties -- but the image appears after 30 seconds or so. See the scene. As for the...

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Is Youssou N’dour qualified to be President?

One decisive factor is N’dour’s shaky relationship to traditional Sufi religious authorities who have some sway in electoral politics. (Wade is very deferential to them.) In the past N’dour has riled them. In the most famous case,...

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Egypt Elections

Egypt’s parliamentary elections are underway despite the intense violence that has rocked the nation over the past few weeks. While we all watch and wait (and vote!), a friend reminded me of this song (originally by the legendary...

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Congo Votes

Over the past week, it was hard to find an article published in a major international press outlet not looking at the build-up to today’s presidential elections through the lens of fear and/of violence. With the exception...

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Liberian Demo-crazy

There’s been a lot of rumors and propaganda flying around related to the Liberian run-off election, so it’s hard to get a sense of what’s really happening on the ground. But international and local news show that the...

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